I never understood why the Biblical story of Job is supposed to be some great source of solace in times of trouble. I saw this recently on a church pamphlet my parents had, something about finding hope in these hard economic times. I read it, and kept waiting for the reassurance, but it never came. Oh sure, they tack Jesus on to it, but, in itself, the book of Job details the ugliest of injustices! Taking the story on its own premises, Job is a totally righteous man, with no fault before God, yet God decides to throw catastrophe at him in some sort of "whose dick is longer" contest with Satan. And don't go blaming Satan for this, because the authority for what Satan did rests in God. Satan is just a sort of employee here, a lackey. God ordered it done, and just like that, there goes Job's wealth, his children, even his health.
The whole time, Job is demanding to hear why, why has this been done? He has to sit there with his boils and his pot shard while his long winded finger wagging friends tell him over and over what a sinner he must surely be. God at long last shows up, and, instead of answering his still-righteous servant, He goes on to upbraid Job, asking him sarcastically, "what, were you there when the world was made? Do you control the rains and winds, did you spread the constellations through the sky?" Job has gone through all this shit, never following his wife's apparently good advice to "curse God and die"-- and all he gets is a haughty lecture, a big know your role, bitch! from the Lord Almighty. Doesn't he at least deserve an honest answer?
And what are we readers supposed to come away with from this story? Where is the justice of God? Don't tell me that God's justice is too far beyond understanding, because he's even going against the basic stuff we do understand: you don't torture people, nor, you know, murder innocent bystanders ::cough::Job's kids::cough::. If God's justice is so much greater, it must be greater in depth; otherwise, if His justice is so incomprehensible, if it differs in substance, then all the moral striving the Bible demands is for nothing-- what's the point of even trying to be just if we can't see or comprehend the standard? To hell with all this religion stuff, we'll never get it anyways, so why bother about that?
And then there's the idea of the testing of one's faith, which to me sounds malicious and wrong. This monster of a god talks of love, but meanwhile throws famine, strife, disaster and dead babies at us. What an asshole. At best we get the notion that the universe is merely capricious, there is no intention good or bad, but that we suffer randomly. This differs not at all from the notion of a godless, purely material world-- there is no reason for our troubles, at least, no good reason-- and the best we can get is to know we're not alone as we suffer together under the finger of a god not worthy of trust, faith, respect, or love.
On that note, Happy Thanksgiving! :)